Originally Posted by Linda on the move
As far as the expense of private school, most of the families at my DDs' school aren't rich, and having kids at the school is a sacrifice. I've heard the same argument about homeschooling, that it's expensive because it requires having a SAHP for years and years. The truth is that many families make choices to make a certain kind of education available for their kids, and for some families that's mom getting a job to pay for an excellent school, and in some families that's mom not getting a job so she can be home with the children. Most homeschooling moms I know didn't work (or worked very, very little) but most the private school moms I know work. It's a different choice, in both cases based on what they believe is very best for their children.
When we were in the middle of this move last year, DH's company temporarily housed us in an apartment oddly close the best public highschool and middle school in the city, and I noticed the number of families living in the complex with teens, many of them immigrant families. That was there way of getting their kids into what they saw as best educational option for them. Houses in that area start at around 400K, but apartments are affordable. Different families do different things make a good education happen for their kids. But you are right, a lot of homeschool families couldn't continue to live in a house and have a SAHM and have any other decent option.
I'm not saying that homeschool moms should get jobs or sell their houses or do anything any different than they are, just that they have the same choices as every body else. They are making choices based on what they feel is best. Every body is making choices, and just because someone else is making a different choice, doesn't mean it's easier for them a less of a sacrifice or that you got fewer options.
I completely agree with all of this. From my standpoint, the parents who work to pay for private school are actually making the bigger sacrifice...but that's because I've done the WOHM thing, and I hated it. So, from my perspective, it's a huge, huge sacrifice to do that for your child. Someone else may see it differently.
Another downside that I've noticed reading this thread is that a homeschooled child is limited by their parents beliefs and values. Take the collaborative learning issue, if a homeschool parent doesn't value it and therefore doesn't make it happen, the child will just not have those experiences -- year after year. Some teachers handle it better than others, but a child who is getting a different teacher every year has a much better chance of having nice collaborative experience than a child who is homeschooled by someone who doesn't see the point of it. You could substitute ANY issue -- playing around with art supplies, using math manipulatives, etc. -- a homeschooled kid is getting the exact same set of learning biases every single year.
I find this to be an interesting view, but it hasn't been my experience, so far. The women who run the ecology programs my kids take all have a slightly different style. The two dance teachers they've worked with have different styles. The instructor at rock climbing had yet another style. I'm pretty sure the instructor at this summer's pottery camp will have yet another approach, and so did the "science adventures" teacher. DD1's ballet teacher regularly has them work together, mostly in pairs, but sometimes in small groups, to choreograph small dance sequences. The science teacher did a lot of group discussion. I hated group work, but group work isn't the only way to do collaborative learning, and just because I hated it, doesn't mean my kids are going to hate it. So far, at least, my kids have had really good group experiences with only very minor blips (a homeschool friend who considered dd1 his "girlfriend" and got really mad when his mom explained that dd1 didn't see it that way, etc.). By the time I was dd1's age, I was already becoming anxious about going to school every day, because of how out and out mean the other kids could be (eg. the boy in my 2nd grade class who stepped in dog poop at lunch and then plunked his shoe on my sandwich).
Sure - my kids have only one main teacher, and it's the same teacher every years. But, I get input from other homeschooling moms, too, and actively look for suggestions. And, I'm not their only teacher (as i say, so far, there's been dance teachers, a climbing instructor, Tae Kwon Do instructors, ecology programs, science class, etc.). I'm not teaching me. I'm teaching my kids, who are very different, so I have to take that into account. I mean...dd1 wants to grow up to work with spiders, in the field and in the lab. I'm a fairly serious arachnaphobe! So...I spend a lot of time looking at large, gruesome, close up pictures of spider faces and discussing the various features with dd1. It's not about me. Likewise, I look into crafts that the kids can do, and what resources are available to learn math, and what books they might like.
Also, a homeschooled child is really stuck in their birth order. The oldest is the oldest all day, every day. At school, they are just one of a group peers.
That also makes little sense to me. Yes. I was "stuck" in my position as middle child at home. And, I was "stuck" in my place in the pecking order at school, just like everyone else. "Middle child" was a lot more comfortable than "misfit", yk? What do you see as the downsides to being stuck in one's birth order?
I think a good question for parents to ask is "Of the options I have, which is the best for my child at this time?" But to figure that out, it seems to me it would be easier if one could evaluate the pluses and minuses of each option and then guess how those would play out for a specific child.
I can't imagine doing it any other way. We re-evaluate about homeschooling every year.
I also think it's better to based our choices on our kids, rather than on our own experiences that we haven't gotten over. Our kids aren't us and the school options aren't the same as ours.
Well, my experiences obviously shape all my decisions, just as they do with anybody else. But, my experiences with ds1 in public school speak more loudly to me than my own experiences do. And, dd1's temperament was the original thing that caused us to consider homeschooling. I do have to admit that I'll be quite relieved if homeschooling works out for them straight through to high school, because my lifetime total of 26 years of dealing with public schools is more than enough for me (I think I was almost as relieved when ds1 walked out of school for the last time as I was when I did the same!). But, if school seems to be the right choice for them at a later date, then that's what we'll do. I don't make my choices on either my experiences or my children. I base them on both.